The Other Tree

We have heard of a tree called The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tree was in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve ate the fruit from this tree. We still use the expression ‘the forbidden fruit’. The warning about this tree was this: “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” It has also been translated ‘dying, you will die’.


As we know, another voice suggested they eat that very fruit. That voice told them that they would not die. Rather, they would gain an ability to judge things for themselves. The words contained this phrase, ‘you will be like God’.

Their reaction to eating this fruit was very strange. It says, “they realized they were naked.” Rather than gaining some power that made them like gods, they found themselves to be naked and they didn’t like it. They took leaves and made themselves coverings.


It seems that the Lord God would visit them. They hear him coming and they run away and hide. Adam hears the voice of the Lord saying, “Where are you?” Adam replies, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Adam does not know how to lie. We can believe him. He says he was afraid. Afraid because he was naked. That is why he hid.

We have little idea of how they felt before eating this fruit. But it seems that ‘being afraid’ was new. My question is this: why did ‘being naked’ bother them? And what were they afraid of?


Adam had gained a self consciousness that was uncomfortable. He became extremely aware of himself in his body. It was like he woke up and discovered he was naked in a world that suddenly seemed somehow dangerous. He was separate from everything else. He knew he was a person before. He was Adam. He had a wife. But now, he felt alone. He says “I” four times in his short response to “Where are you?”


He feels separate from his Maker and Benefactor so he hides. He feels separate from his wife and calls her ‘the woman’. He realizes that there is at least one creature, the serpent, that deceives people. There is some danger on this earth. Maybe there is more. This is the thing that bothers him. His nakedness means he is alienated from everything else. It is just him, in his body, and that body does not seem enough. It needs a covering of some sort.

A lot is made of the ‘punishments’ that are given out by the Lord. But sometimes left out is that he gives them better coverings. He clothes them. He becomes their tailor as someone said. They are also sent out of the Garden area. But why? Because of the other tree, the Tree of Life.

This Tree of Life becomes a problem. God takes away their access to this tree. What exactly is this tree? All we know is that it will give people the power to live forever.

Rubens: Adam och Eva.

It seems that the choice they had was either this tree or that tree. They chose one and now lose their chance to eat from the other. The next time we read about it is in John’s vision of the future, “On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”


We have this tree in the past. We have it in the future. But what about now? Is our choice lost? Can we gain this eternal life or is it now denied forever. The same bible that tells us of the Tree of Life, contains other statements about eternal life and how to get it. Jesus makes several statements about this.”

“Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”


“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

“I am the bread of life that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.”


Jesus compares himself to something you eat: bread. And something you drink: water. He says the result of this eating and drinking is eternal life, living forever. So we do have a choice now to have eternal life. But we have to eat ‘the Bread of Life’ not fruit from the Tree of Life.




Cain has a younger brother, Abel. Now Abel seems to be the favorite of their parents. But something takes place that makes Cain think God is also playing favorites. Cain is mad. God asked him directly why he is mad. God tells him that it doesn’t have to be this way. But Cain shrugs this off focusing on his brother as the source of his problems. He decides to get rid of him. He invents murder. Can you believe this? The first two men, brothers, and one decides to kill the other!


He does kill him. Now things are better. Hardly. Cain has lost any natural love he had for his brother. His parents feelings have become unimportant to him. He fears being killed. Someone might invent revenge! He takes his wife and begins to wander. He keeps moving from place to place. Eventually, he establishes a home where he keeps his family close around him.



Why a Flood?


Noah or Cain

One reason we may have a hard time understanding the story of the flood is that we start with the wrong guy. We start with Noah, right? But we need to start with Cain.

Cain had become a murderer. But God lets the guy live. He doesn’t judge him as unworthy to live. He lets this hard-hearted guy who solved his jealousy problem with murder, go out and pursue his life. Why? Well, remember, his parents, Adam and Eve had chosen to live by their conscience. They wanted to use their new knowledge of good and evil to make moral choices. Choices. Free will.

The Marked Man

Cain had chosen to kill his brother and God told Cain he would no longer be a farmer because the ground itself rejects him.

Cain had not considered what came after killing his brother. He quickly began to fear that he, himself, could be killed in the future by someone as revenge. God puts a mark on him to warn people not to kill him or it will be worse for them. The life of a farmer denied him, he builds a city.


A city. Cain builds a city. What was the result?
Some worked and provided food but others were free like Tubal-Cain to make tools out of bronze and iron. His half-brother Jubal makes music on stringed and wind instruments. This is why we like cities, the arts, right? Yet others like Jabal chose a nomadic life raising livestock.


Why half-brothers?

Their father, Lamech, decided to have two wives. Why two? He just wanted to have two wives. And he had some trouble with a younger man who wounded him. So he killed him. Then he made up a song about it. Or maybe it was a poem. It in Lamech says the punishment was high because he, Lamech, said so. He remembers that anyone who killed Cain would be avenged seven times. Lamech raises this to seventy times. He decided what was right for him and no one was to say otherwise. He was serious about it. Deadly serious.


Violence Ruled the Day

Seth has kids. He is another son of Adam. They farm. The city people make choices, like Lamech, that eventually cause the society to break down completely. The simple description: everyone thought about doing evil, all the time. Everyone made their own rules. What they did exactly is not described in detail but the result was this: the earth was filled with violence. God’s call: “All flesh had corrupted their way on the earth”.


Farm Boys go to City to find Wives

There was hero worship. Maybe clans developed around them. One group, ‘the sons of God’, wanted wives from another group. Maybe it was a group of Seth people who wanted wives from a group of Cain people. The groups mixed and before long there was no group that thought about God. The farming group left farming to join in the new city-based society. Maybe.

Anyway, the result was this. A violent society. The ancestor, Cain, started this kind of city society. He left his mark of using violence to deal with his feelings of jealousy. Now violence became the solution to every conflict of every sort. A society without laws allowing everyone to do anything. It made God sorry he had made people. He had been moved when Abel was killed. He said the blood of Abel called to him from the ground. Now the earth is filled with violence that calls out to God. God sees complete corruption.

His solution: a flood.



Now, we come to Noah. Noah is about the only guy who has not joined in the corrupt society. God tells him to build an ark.

Noah does this with the help of his three sons but it takes a long time, maybe 100 years. God waits. Noah and sons build. Do you see that God intervenes but men must do something themselves to save themselves. Noah, by doing what God tells him, saves his family and human society. “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

Anyway, it is not an immediate flood. It is known to Noah that it will come and it will be big. Do people know about it? I think it would make the news. Man predicts flood and is building large boat. But God does not tell Noah to go and tell the people. He just tells him to build a big boat and exactly how big it should be. And what materials to use. I don’t think there were a lot of boats around.


A New Start

It says in later books and letters that Noah demonstrated his faith and so condemned the world. And that God waited patiently while Noah built the ark.

But it was for the sake of people that God removed a completely corrupt society. All the people would have died anyway and probably violently. There was no way to reform this situation except with a new beginning. There was also an element of purging the earth itself and a new start for wild animals, birds and cattle, etc.


Will it happen again?

How many people died? It does not say. It says eight survived. How widespread was the flood? Big enough to end all life. Did it reach to Australia and drown kangaroos? You tell me. When did it happen? Really unknown. Some say 5,000 years ago; others say 50,000. Could be more. Adding up dates or time lengths in the Bible is a waste of time since that is not their purpose. They are there to show continuity not length of time itself.

But again, the purpose of the flood was to give mankind another chance, not to get rid of people. Peter, a disciple of Jesus, predicts a future event where the Earth will again go through a dreadful transition to prepare for a very different way of life on earth. He says the flood was an example of this kind of major change. Many, but not all, will die before the ‘new earth’ predicted will come to be. And Peter does not make these statements without information from God.


Preparation for this is clear. Jesus has made things clear to all who listen. Believe him. God is willing that all would be saved. We just have to find out what He means by saved.

“No one comes to the Father except through Me” is not a restriction but rather an open invitation.

“I am the Door”. And that Door is open.

He is not willing that anyone would perish.


Enoch – God's First Friend

Enoch Who?

Several generations pass from Adam and Seth. Now we come to Enoch. Enoch has a very short biography. He seems rather ordinary until he has a son. We can put his whole story right here. 


When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.






This is a short biography. And each line is important.

 His son is Methuselah. Maybe you heard of him. “As old as Methuselah.” But when Methuselah is born, things change for Enoch. This event was when Enoch became God’s first friend. Enoch walked with God. He continued to do this for 300 years. It becomes the characteristic of his life. 


Enoch is the first man who had a good, continuous relationship with God. After 300 years, Enoch disappears. He’s gone. He didn’t die. God took him. God liked this guy.


Why are we given no details? This is a personal relationship between God and Enoch. And God is interested in the individual. There are no groups with God. He is well able to focus on each person. 

Enoch has no good example to follow. He cannot say, “I will be like …” Enoch is not given a great decision like Adam. He is not given a great task like Noah, his grandson. He lives an ordinary life but does so in an extraordinary way. He walks with God. No one instructs him. No one shows him how to do this. He blazes a new path in the world very quietly. His story is often overlooked because it contains no dramatic events until the end.

No one has made a movie about Enoch. He does not leave a method behind. His example tells us that we must find our own relationship with God. What is remarkable is that Enoch walks with God for 300 years. And what began with an ordinary event, the birth of a son, ends with this one dramatic event: he disappears. He has no grave. No one witnesses his final moment on earth. There is no Elisha to tell of a chariot that takes him up. But God takes him none the less.

Enoch is not an old man by contemporary standards. God decides to end his earthly time early. He wants his friend closer to him. In this, God shows his approval of Enoch’s life. Enoch walked with God and he was not for God took him.


In the New Testament, Enoch is an example of faith. Then it says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” 

Why a Flood?


A Book of Action Heroes

I didn’t realize it before but the Bible is an action hero adventure.  The actions of these first people affect everything after that. 


First Hero

The first action hero is God. He creates everything. This is a lot of action. So much action that he actually rests on the seventh day. Rests from creating at least.


First Ones

The story of the first two humans involves a choice. The choice they make influences everything after that. But remember it was a choice between two, not just yes or no.


Two Trees

It was a choice of either this or that. This was the Tree of Life. That was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eating from that second tree would be bad for them and God gave them the strongest warning possible. You will surely die, he told them.


Adam made a choice to go with bad advice. He gave up a good relationship with God. He was a partner with God and king of the earth. But he traded all that for morality. He wanted to know, by himself, what was good and what was bad. He may be the first flawed hero.


The next hero is Abel. He was the favorite of all. But his brother did not care for that. He decided to kill him. Yes, Cain murdered his brother. He then fled to another area to live.


Now we come to Seth. He was another son of Adam. It says people began to call on God at that time. It still didn’t get very personal. Several generations pass. Now we come to Enoch. Enoch may have a very short biography but he deserves his own chapter.